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The Saskatchewan government is planning to gradually increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2024.

The province has the lowest minimum wage in the country at $11.81 hourly.

The government says that figure is to increase to $13 an hour in October, then to $14 an hour by October 2023, and to $15 an hour by October 2024.

Labour Relations Minister Don Morgan said it’s a way to make life more affordable for people as the cost of living continues to increase.

“We want to have a stable workforce in the province that is reasonably compensated. It moves the starting wage up to $15 [an hour] and people will continue to move up,” Morgan said Tuesday.

Earlier this week, Premier Scott Moe said the Saskatchewan Party government consulted with business groups before making the decision to raise wages “substantially.”

The chambers of commerce in Saskatoon and Regina said their organizations were consulted, but the Saskatchewan Labour Federation, which represents more than 100,000 employees, said it was left out of discussions.

Regardless, the federation praised the planned increases as a victory.

“For years, workers have been told by their government, their employers and powerful corporate lobby groups that they weren’t worth more than poverty wages,” president Lori Johb said in a statement.

“Today’s announcement proves that when workers use our collective power to demand better, we can get results.”

The federation said it will push the government to bring in the $15 hourly wage immediately.

Morgan said the phased approach is to allow employers to adjust.

“It gives a bit of a cushion.”

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